5 Plants That Will Keep Mosquitoes Out of Your Yard, According to Pest Experts
Your body will thank you for less bug bites.
With the weather warming up, outdoor entertaining will soon be in full swing. It's such a fun time of year, but whether you're having some guests over for a barbecue, or simply hanging out in the yard, you don't want to be bothered by bugs. Thanks to the humidity, more and more mosquitoes will be out and about, and it's safe to say that no one wants to be the next one being bitten. Luckily, there are certain plants that can minimize the mosquitoes, and keep your yard looking nice. Keep reading to hear from experts about which greenery will keep these bothersome bugs out of your space.
You're probably familiar with Citronella, and have likely used candles or a bug repellent bracelet made with its essential oil. But you can also go straight to the source and plant the popular plant mosquito-repelling plant in your yard.
"It smells like lemon and covers up your scent that mosquitoes love," says Bryan Clayton, the CEO at GreenPal. You can either plant it in pots or in the ground around any outdoor areas that might attract mosquitoes.
Amber Noyes, horticulturist and editor at Gardening Chores, says any type of lemon-scented plant is a solid option to keep your yard mosquito-free. Lemongrass, which is the most similar to citronella, lemon balm, or lemon verbena are all anti-mosquito—it just depends on which one works best for your climate, she tells Best Life.
Lavender is oh so pretty and it's a popular scent for sure, but did you know that it's excellent for keeping mosquitoes at bay?
"Mosquitoes can't stand it, plus it has linalool, a chemical that repels them," says Clayton. Planting this one is a real win, and the dried petals can even work as an anti-itch solution.
This purple plant does best in sunny conditions. "It really needs a lot of sunlight to grow, so make sure you don't plant it in a shady area," says Ben McInerney, founder of Home Garden Guides.
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Catnip will not only make your cat extra happy, it will also keep mosquitoes away because it contains nepetalactone, a compound that Clayton says is better than DEET at repelling them.
McInerney also notes the power of nepetalactone. "The name sounds like a mouthful, but all you really need to know is that this chemical is powerful against repelling mosquitoes," he says. "Not to mention, catnip is easy to grow and maintain."
In addition to being an easy plant, catnip also makes for a pretty addition to any yard or garden. "It's super robust, they can grow in almost any type of soil, as long as it drains well," says Noyes. Don't worry if it's gloomy out, since these plants can thrive in both full sunshine spots or partially shaded areas.
You can also use catnip oil or leaves to make your own repellent spray or rub, notes Clayton.
Marigolds are bright and cheerful flowers that will make your yard even prettier, but their biggest pro is that they have a smell that mosquitoes don't like.
"They also have pyrethrum, a natural insecticide that kills them, so you should plant them near your doors, windows, or seating areas," says Clayton.
Once mosquitoes catch a whiff of those chemicals, they won't fly anywhere near them.
Mint is a staple in the kitchen and it should be a staple in your yard. Its most active ingredient is menthol, which is known to repel and control mosquitos and other pests.
"The scent of mint does wonders in keeping mosquitoes at bay, and all types of mint work well, but I'm particularly fond of Algerian mint for its spicy kick," says Noyes.
It's also super easy to grow: Noyes mentions that it can thrive in all types of soil, as well as partial shade.
We all know basil is excellent for cooking, but it's also quite nice to have in your yard. "This plant contains oils that can kill mosquito larvae," says David Lundquist, owner of Mosquito Hunters of Austin.
Clayton suggests planting it near any grilling area outside. "Basil has eugenol, a compound that works as a mosquito repellent and you can use the leaves for repellent lotion or spray," he says.
These compounds confuse and irritate the mosquito, which ultimately forces them to leave and find another food source.